Thursday, October 31, 2013

'Aftershock' (Movie Review)

Shaky ground.
I generally trust Eli Roth. He didn't steer me wrong with Cabin Fever or Hostel. I've even enjoyed his over-the-top acting in movies like Piranha 3D and Inglorious Basterds. So I held out hope that Aftershock would have some redeeming qualities with his name on production and in the cast. Eli has broken my circle of trust.

The basic premse of Aftershock is a lot like Hostel. A group of friends takes a trip outside the United States in an attempt to "find themselves" for various reasons. This particular group goes to Chile, and thus begins the horrendous first third of the movie. The first third of this movie is mind numbing. I'm not quite sure what director Nicolas Lopez was aiming for. There is no action, a completely pointless set up, and the dialogue is abysmal. I can see there was some attempt at character development in order to garner sympathy for the soon-to-be endangered group. These are fairly ineffective, however, due to the painful and contrived script.

Once the quake hits, things quickly shift gears into total chaos where the dialogue is (thankfully) minimized and it's one gory death after another. I will give Aftershock credit for remaining unpredictable in the way it eliminates cast members, and for a few twists and turns along the way, but by the time the finale rolls around you've had to endure 80 minutes of eating a crap sandwich. I don't want to forcibly eat an entire crap sandwich just to get to my dessert.

Brutal violence and scantily clad women have a storied history in horror movies. They've also been ramped up quite a bit as tropes in the past decade, and while there is totally a place for those things, you can't compensate for a complete debacle of a movie with gore and short shorts. It's unfortunate that Eli Roth wasn't able to have a little more influence on the final product so it would live up to the quality of the material he personally directs.

Grade: D-

Reviewed on VOD via Netflix. Running time 89 MIN.

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